Religion: A Humanist Interpretation

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Psychology Press, 1996 - Religion - 243 pages
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Treats religion as a human art, capable of great intellectual and artistic achievements.Religion: A Humanist Interpretation represents a lifetime's work on the anthropology of religion from a rather unusual personal viewpoint. Raymond Firth treats religion as a human art, capable of great intellectual and artistic achievements, but also of complex manipulation to serve the human interests of those who believe in it and operate it. His study is comparative, drawing material from a range of religions around the world. Its findings are a challenge to established beliefs.This anthropological approach to the study of religion covers themes ranging from; religious belief and personal adjustment; gods and God; offering and sacrifice;religion and politics; Malay magic and spirit mediumship; truth and paradox in religion.
 

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Contents

Religious belief and personal adjustment
14
Spiritual aroma? Religion and politics
48
monotheism and polytheism
72
problems of organization
93
Ritual and drama in Malay spirit mediumship
110
Faith and scepticism in Kelantan village magic
133
Paradox in religious systems
156
The truth of religion?
212
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About the author (1996)

Raymond Firth, a New Zealand-born English anthropologist, was Bronislaw Malinowski's successor at the London School of Economics. In 1928 he first visited the tiny island of Tikopia in the Solomons, and his monograph We, the Tikopia (1936) established his fame. A devoted student of Malinowski, he established no school of anthropological thought, but his productive scholarship and academic statesmanship won him an important reputation in social anthropology.

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